Looking beyond the mirror

Through the mirror you see yourself. Yourself but not yourself. Yourself but somehow different.

It’s you but a bit off, like when yoghurt is slightly past it’s sell-by-date and tastes a bit funny, but you eat it anyway of course because it tastes close enough to the flavour you bought that you can live with the inherent off-ness.

It looks like you, it moves like you, it seems to act like you in every way but somehow, it’s as far away from you as anything on this earth could be.

And the worst thing about this other you is its smile, it looks back at you with this perfect smile, all too perfect, nobody has a smile that perfect, it’s your smile but unsettlingly perfect, you hate it.

Everybody loves this version of you but you. You hate them, because while they may walk/talk/act like you, it’s not anything like you really. 

You’re stuck idly watching on as other you lives your life, watching on as everybody forgets about you, as you go further and further into the night, into the peripheries.

In the mirror this other you changes, right in front of your eyes, just for you it changes, it twists and morphs, bubbles and corrupts.

The once perfect smile stretches further and further until it’s certainly not perfect anymore, it becomes more unsettling by the moment, it continues to contort up your cheeks, stretching your skin as it goes until it has no more room.

The once all too perfect you is more of an abomination now, it’s you but not you, it’s you but twisted, twisted beyond all recognition.

Then in a flash it’s gone, you finish what you’re doing but as much as you would like to pretend it’s not, the unfortunate truth is that there’s always a chance you’ll get to see the other you again very soon.

It’s always with you, always waiting for you, waiting in the mirror, if you open up to it.

“What happens to us in the future? What, do we become assholes or something?”

Nobody ever teaches you how to grow up. There’s no formula for it, there’s not a definitive moment you know, you don’t wake up one day and go ‘Oh, I did that growing up thing and I reckon I bloody smashed it’.

Some people do it before their time, they’re old when they’re still a child or a teenager. You can spot them as the ones sat in the corner in a nightclub sipping a jack and coke tapping their foot, everybody knows the type.

Some people never do it, conversely they’re the ones who are roaming around the dance floor in their fourties looking to pull a fresher, you hopefully don’t know this one.

I recently had an epiphany, an earth shattering moment of realisation . I don’t know if i’d like me, not really current me, I know if current me likes me or not, what I was pondering was whether a young me would like current me.

If I could time travel back to when I was younger and approach my younger self (in a way that would not come across Child Predatory in any possible way to passers by, of course) would they like what they saw looking back at them.

Since the last truly consistent part of my life ended when I graduated from University in December of last year I’ve been aimless.

It’s all been like a fly jumping from mound of shit to mound of shit, people swatting at me as I go, gargantuan, hulking hands swinging into view, all of them primed to send me crashing with a thud down into the ground below.

If anybody out there reading this (Hi Mum) know me then it won’t be a huge shock to say that I have Insomnia, it’s been a part of my life for probably getting on for ten years now, it’s a part of me and i’m beginning to come to terms with that.

The birds chirping at the dawn of morning are as much a part of my life as a dodgy ankle or frustratingly thick ginger hair that I can’t seem to tame as much as I try. It’s just me.

When I haven’t been trying (mostly in vain) to fix my sleep using memory foam pillows/mattresses, gravity blankets, lavender body creams, sprays to put on my pillows, CBD oil etc. I’ve been trying to maintain some semblance of my own sanity, it is after all one of my favourite parts of myself.

I’ve been sort of doing some freelance-ey work in Chester, some writing here and there for a website or two, I’ve made tentative little tippy-toe steps into writing some short stories (don’t hold your breath on seeing that for a good while), and more recently I’ve signed on to start a Community Interest Company as a Director with two people FAR more qualified than me, focusing on helping mitigate climate change in my local area.

It’s been a struggle but i’m hopefully stepping out of a long dark tunnel and into the sunshine. I’m feeling the beginnings of creativity again, it’s coming slowly in the distance.

Back to little me, smaller me from when I was younger and the question marks over whether he’d even like what he saw when I, in a very innocent, not at all predatory way approached him.

Over the last few years I’ve gone through significant spells where the essence of me have been hidden away, retreating back behind a facade of myself, like a fat cat politician maintaining an air of calmness about the way they’ve royally fucked everything they’ve touched while deep down knowing there’s blood in the water and time is ticking before the sharks get a scent.

I’ve pretended to be me, maintained an outward projection of myself that will please everybody while inside wanting to curl up into a ball and never speak to a living person again.

This backwards way of living for the last 24 months or so has blocked my personal development, you can’t grow if you’re living within yourself and projecting a fake image of yourself to the world, maintaining the status quo.

I’ve lacked energy, direction and creativity, I’ve been lazy, accepting my lot, wallowing in self pity and negative thoughts.

Onward, upwards and outwards is the only path I can accept now, I’ve had enough living within myself for a lifetime.

If looking back and younger you wouldn’t be proud of what they’ve become then what’s the point?

Take a step back and work out why, where you trailed off from becoming a you that you can be proud of, if it’s an obvious answer then look to address it in any way you can, one step at a time.

Or don’t, what do I know.

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